MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know it as the “Vikings War Chant,” the rally cry, the word that brings the fans together.
Skol! We hear it and say it all the time, but what does “skol” actually mean? Good Question.
“Skol has been in our lexicon since the very beginning of the franchise back in 1961,” said Erin Swartz of the Minnesota Vikings.
The word itself dates back more than 1,000 years.
Gregg White teaches Swedish at the American Swedish Institute. He says the word is actually spelled “skål,” and you’ll probably be surprised at its actual definition.
“It means bowl,” White said. “You picked [the bowl] up, the first person would take a sip, say ‘skål,’ and you pass it onto the next person.”
White says it was a greeting of warmth and camaraderie.
“Exactly like a ‘cheers’ in British English,” he said.
It was never an ancient Viking war cry.
“There’s no evidence the Vikings ever used it as a chant,” White said.
In fact, the Vikings used a different word to toast, which meant “to your memory.”
And the story that “skol” came from Vikings drinking beer from the skulls of their enemies?
“That’s a really wonderful myth, but it’s not fact,” White said.
In 2016, the Minnesota Vikings introduced the “Skol Chant,” after seeing it used by the Icelandic soccer team and its fans.
“We reached out to them directly and said, ‘Would you be willing to lend us this idea from one Viking fan to another?’” Swartz said.
And they did, ensuring “skol” will be used to intimidate opponents for seasons to come.